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A Selection of Short Essays on Simone Weil's Life and Writings cover

  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-917164-0
    • 5.0 x 8.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 120 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-917165-7
    • 5.0 x 8.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 120 pages
  • Keywords
    • Contemporary Thought,
    • Idealism & Philosophy,
    • Political Philosophy,
    • Identical Thought,
    • Philosophy & War,
    • Marxism,
    • Spirituality

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A Selection of Short Essays on Simone Weil's Life and Writings
by Helen E. Cullen

Simone Weil was an extraordinary French woman who, born in 1909, didn’t have the same freedoms women today enjoy. Despite that, she became a political activist, a teacher, and one of the world’s most well-respected philosophers. By the time she died at the age of thirty-three, Weil had made significant contributions to humanity. In Helen Cullen’s book, A Selection of Short Essays on Simone Weil's Life and Writings, Weil’s background and philosophies on life are laid out and examined. Though many believe that her political leanings had become more conservative over time—as she embraced a more mystical life—Cullen aims to demonstrate how she continued to have very progressive and leftist beliefs until her death. Weil wrote copiously during her short life, addressing many social, political, and religious issues, such as the rights of factory workers during the Second World War. She was an activist during the 1930’s, herself working in factories so she could live the experiences she wrote about. Weil's perspectives on life were heavily influenced by Plato and his philosophy, which Cullen analyzes in her essays. Cullen also spends time examining Weil’s theory of Identical Thought, which some believe is her greatest contribution to humanity. This book of essays offers new insight into one of this world’s greatest female minds, inspiring us to consider how we, too, may contribute to humanity.

"An outstanding book filled with profound insights into the life and work of Weil. Dr. Cullen emerges as a brilliant Weil scholar, even in small details: Weil diagnosed during WW2 that the Nazi power would endure only as long as they could maintain their initial thrust; once lost, their ability to preserve what they had conquered would falter. The book also elucidates some of Simone Weil’s boldest claims, such as the notion of a shared spiritual wisdom among humanity (an area where Dr. Cullen's long-time study truly excels). Dr. Cullen’s skillful analysis further delves into these elements, making the book a compelling read. It effectively revitalizes Weil’s ideas, bringing them to life for contemporary readers, and giving them renewed significance. One such powerful dictum “Human Thought needs the world as its obstacle to be able to think and act”, by Simone Weil, gains relevance in the context of new technology. The prevalence of digital communication and AI offers us a pre-processed, ready-made view of reality, hindering not only critical thinking but even true experience itself. This book offers intellectual nourishment to both experts and newcomers in the field of Simone Weil’s studies." —Oriol Quintana, Ph.D

Helen E. Cullen photo

HELEN CULLEN has a PhD in Philosophy, with a focus on Simone Weil, from the University of Ottawa. Though this book was written with the intention of appealing to anyone who is interested in Simone Weil, students of continental philosophy, political and social philosophy, and/or religious philosophy may find this book particularly useful if they intend to pursue a masters or a PhD. This is Cullen’s second book. Her first, A Philosophical Anthropology Drawn from Simone Weil’s Life and Writings, was published in 2017. She is also a member of the American Weil Society and has attended L’Association de Simone Weil Colloquium in Paris and Barcelona. Cullen lives in Ottawa with her spouse and two pets. She can be reached via her website


Helen E. Cullen
Thomas P. Meincke

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